08/17/2013 7:12PM

Arlington Million: Real Solution's DQ victory gives Ramseys Grade 1 triple

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Four Footed Fotos
Real Solution (outside) battles with The Apache in the stretch of the Arlington Million.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – Somewhere among the possessions of Ken and Sarah Ramsey must reside a trinket, an amulet, an ancient stone – some kind of good luck charm holding supernatural powers. All things equine the Ramseys touch somehow turn to gold.

Real Solution, a horse the Ramseys bred and own and sent to Italy for the first five races of his career, tried and tried to pass The Apache in the stretch run of the 31st Arlington Million. He failed, but won anyway. Jockey Alan Garcia, riding Real Solution, claimed foul on Christophe Soumillon on The Apache, alleging stretch interference. Arlington’s stewards decided he had a case. The Apache was disqualified, and the Ramseys won again.

Of course they did.

The victory was the third Grade 1 on the day for the Ramseys, all with homebreds, and all by their sire Kitten’s Joy, who made his final start finishing second in the 2005 Arlington Million, the Ramseys closest brush with victory in Chicago’s biggest race. At Saratoga on Saturday, Big Blue Kitten won the Sword Dancer, and earlier on the Arlington card Admiral Kitten captured the Secretariat.

“I think (Kitten’s Joy’s) stud fee is going up from $50,000 next year!” Ramsey cackled from the winner’s circle.

Real Solution, based in New York with trainer Chad Brown, won by far the biggest race of his career. He captured his first three starts in Italy in 2011 and 2012, and was the odds-on favorite to win the Group 1 Italian Derby, but finished sixth while suffering from a lung infection, Ramsey said. Real Solution finished fourth in the Fort Marcy Stakes in his first start for Brown, and was an improved third behind Point of Entry in the Manhattan before scoring a breakthrough victory Saturday – of sorts.

The disqualification of The Apache was not clear-cut. Getting a brilliant ride from Christophe Soumillon, who split Side Glance and Rahystrada with a knifing move at the quarter pole, The Apache made the lead at about the eighth pole and appeared to be on his way to victory. Real Solution emerged from a scrum behind The Apache in midstretch and made a strong bid, but The Apache, while drifting out a couple paths, perhaps bumping lightly once, turned him away. There was no stewards’ inquiry, but Garcia claimed foul, and The Apache was taken down in fairly short order.

Soumillon said The Apache was startled by the infield projection screen.

“As you can see, we were the better horse,” said Soumillon. “But he got scared by the screen and shifted out. You see, my horse was on the lead and got a little unbalanced.”

It was an especially bitter pill for trainer Mike de Kock, whose only previous Million starter, Archipenko, finished a tough-luck second in 2008. This was the third disqualification of a Million winner in 11 years: Storming Home was taken down in 2003, and Powerscourt the next year.

The Apache’s margin of victory was a head, and Side Glance finished another two lengths back in third, with Finnegan’s Wake fourth. Little Mike, bidding to become the first back-to-back Million winner, checked in sixth, with Grandeur, the race’s second choice, seventh. Indy Point, the 5-2 favorite, was steadied early, dropped to the back of the pack, and never lifted his hooves, basically crossing the wire eased, more than 16 lengths behind the 12th-place finisher.

Real Solution paid $18.80 to win and completed an all-stakes pick four that paid $205.65 for a 50-cent wager. The Million is a Breeders' Cup Win and You're In race, giving Real Solution a berth in the BC Turf.

The Million pace turned out to be moderate, with front-running Nates Mineshaft ceding the early lead to Little Mike, who set splits of 24.34, 48.99, and 1:13 while joined on the backstretch by Mull of Killough and Rahystrada. The Apache was in the second flight of runners, while Real Solution raced ninth for much of the trip before making his move under Garcia.

Both Garcia and Brown won the Million in their first try, and Brown, who trains Big Blue Kitten, won his second Grade 1 turf race of the afternoon.

“What a day. What a day,” Brown said. “When they crossed the finish and he got beat a nose I broke my watch after I hit the desk in my office in the barn. I got up and went for a walk and then the help came running after me to come back to the barn because there was an (objection).”

The Ramseys, who also won an allowance race here with Coalport on Saturday, continue to roll through an epic season on the American turf. Ken Ramsey, who came to Arlington with a large family entourage Saturday, seemed to spend most of the afternoon draped in the bulky red and white floral arrangement placed on the winning stakes horses.

The colors are the same as the Ramsey silks. Everything works out for these folks.

“This is right up there with winning the Dubai World Cup,” Ramsey said. “It couldn’t be better than this.”

- additional reporting by Mike Welsch